Apparently, you and I bought our dream computer the other day, and we are quite happy from the utility we are getting from it. However, have we ever stopped and thought about how it started and evolved to its current state?
Perhaps, the answer to this question is ‘No,’ but it is imperative to appreciate its evolution. Well, in this blog, I am going to shade some light with you, though at a glance, about the development of computers and the technology we are currently embracing.
Needless to say, when people started counting numbers, they thought of devices that count faster as well as track the numbers. Therefore, it became more necessary to have devices that can do calculations, which is perhaps the beginning of computers. It is believed that the Abacus was the first calculating tool to be invented, and it took over 100 years to develop to the digital computer. It is worth nothing that the first computer was designed as an ordinary counting and calculating tool in the 19th century.
However, before the 19th century, different kinds of computing devices had been invented, which include slide rule and Napier’s bones. In fact, in the year 1642, a famous French mathematician called Pascal Blaise created the very first operational calculating tool. Indeed, Pascaline was an automatic counting machine used eight movable digits to add numbers.
Leibniz Gottfried and the Stepped Reckoner
Fifty years later, Pascal machine was improved and re-design to do division, multiplication, and to calculate square root, thanks to German mathematician Leibniz Gottfried. The new version of Pascaline was later referred to as Stepped Reckoner. Although it suffered some few drawbacks such mechanical precision, it was better than the former design.
As earlier mentioned, Charles Babbage, an English mathematician, is the man behind the design of the actual computers we are using today. He came up with a proposal of a new machine that has the capacity of solving difference equations, which was later referred to as Difference Engine. The beauty of this device was that it could automatically print the results. Unfortunately, Babbage could not manage to make it a fully functioning difference engine and the project stopped in 1833.
50 years later, a new concept of computing was already in place, and this time, everything seems to be working. Herman Hollerith is the man behind the design of Electronic Numeric Integrator and Calculator (ENIAC), which is thought to be the first evolution of computers and technologies.
A few years later, John Neumann invented Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer (EDVAC). In 1947, Maurice designed Electronic Delay & Storage Automatic Calculator (EDSAC). In 1951, Eckert-Mauchly Company launched Universal Automatic Computer (UNIVAC).
From the 1960s onwards, we saw an introduction of fastest electronic computers with supper-sonic speeds. All along, computers were expensive, but in the 1970s, cheap computers using integrated circuits and microprocessors were invented. Nowadays, we are talking of Very Large Scale Integrated Circuits that can handle over 32 bits at once.
Evolution of computers and technology is still ongoing; many changes and advances are still taking place. In fact, the trend is moving to microcomputers and high-speed computing devices. Nevertheless, without the initial steps of computer evolution, it is more probable that we could not be taking of core i7, core i9, and so on. Therefore, I hope you have appreciated the long evolution of computers and the champions behind its development!